Friday, 30 January 2009


There's a gorilla in the room that politicians debating climate change don't like to acknowledge.

Next week the European Parliament will vote on a non-legislative report on the subject. It's a monster, an overlong dog's dinner review of the subject which includes statements from which I dissent as well as much that I cannot vote against.

I wanted to retable an amendment that was defeated in committee. It pointed out that world population has trebled in the past 50 years, is increasing by 153,000 every day, and this understandably generates a hugely increased demand for energy. It also called for the Commission and Member States to come up with some proposals for NON-COERCIVE measures to achieve optimum population levels.

And what does "non-coercive" mean? Women everywhere having greater control over reproduction. Couples having a first child a few years later than might otherwise be the case. Perhaps some financial incentives. But above all, discussion, just how many people can the planet support?

This prompted the first debate in the Lib Dem group about population that I can recall. The Romanians appeared particularly concerned about the idea that we should ask the Commission to actually propose something. It is the most important subject of all yet politicians are frightened of the consequences of discussing it.

We agreed to table my amendment so far as it mentioned the problem of growing numbers. But the call for some kind of follow up was deleted.

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